Saturday 22nd May 2011
We were woken at 5.40am by the loud ringing of church bells and it took me a minute or so to realise that we hadn’t missed the fact that there was a church outside our hotel window, but that the kind person who rented the room before us didn’t switch the alarm clock off!
Tina of course turned over and went straight back to sleep, whilst I on the other hand, laid in bed wide awake, which was a bit annoying as I could have really done with the extra sleep. Oh well, as usual my iPad kept me company until Tina woke later.
We showered and then went to find the breakfast room; we were informed when we checked in that it was included in the price and booth of us were impressed with the selection. We both had cereals and I had scrambled egg whilst Tina had toast and both coffee and juice.
After breakfast we set off for the days excursion, this time to the Yosemite National Park. The park was about a two hour drive and I was a bit apprehensive driving so far after yesterday’s long stint in the car, not knowing whether it would be worth it. We were not disappointed though.
Firstly we filled the car with fuel; the palaver with getting fuel is annoying over here. Firstly you have to pre-pay or leave your credit card, showing ID as well. Then you have to go back and pay for the fuel. I understand that there must be a lot of people that do runners after filling up, but it is still a real pain.
Once fuelled up, we set off up the 41 towards Yosemite, spotting the snow-covered peaks in the distance far away.
As soon as we left Fresno the landscape changed, firstly to flat plains, then hillier country, then mountains lined with trees. As we began to climb ever higher, the temperature started to drop, to a point where we began to see snow on the side of the road. As we got nearer to the National Park, the traffic slowed as there was a entrance fee into the park of $20 per car.
Immediately inside, we stopped for a comfort break then drove towards the Yosemite Valley. The map and information booklet mentioned that there were bears and mountain lions in the park but it would be unlikely that you would see any. If you did you were to make as much noise as possible to scare them away. My thoughts were to offer Tina as a light snack and I’d then run!
The scenery was incredible and as we got higher and nearer the photo opportunities were superb. As we neared the valley, we had to drive through a long tunnel and as soon as we exited we parked up and saw the first glimpses of the main waterfalls and rock formations. What a sight. We took many more photos and videos before proceeding on towards the bottom of the valley.
At the bottom, we parked up and walked the short distance to the base of the Bridalveil Fall, a superb waterfall that hits the ground throwing up loads of spray to those at the bottom. Whilst we were there a wedding ceremony was about to take place right at the base; the bride in her full white wedding dress and adorning trainers. Only in America.
We walked back to the car stopping a few more times to take some more photos before driving back to the south gate entrance. This time we parked up and boarded a courtesy bus to where the Mariposa Groves of Giant Sequoia are situated. These trees are enormous and many are over 2000 years old. Until you actually stand next to them you can’t actually believe trees could grow as big as they can.
We agreed that we wanted to find a better restaurant than yesterday’s effort, so looking online, I found that there was an Outback Steakhouse just down the road. Of course, just down the road in American is not quite that but we eventually found it and enjoyed another great value meal. We then drove back to the hotel to chill out for the rest of the evening before our journey to San Francisco in the morning.